The man accused of shooting and killing a veteran NYPD officer at point-blank range in December said in videotaped statements obtained exclusively by NBC New York that he pulled the trigger by accident, explaining: "I was so nervous and I panicked."
The videos are the first time the public is hearing from accused gunman Lamont Pride about the shooting. In them, he also told prosecutors he wants a break on prison time for telling them what he knows.
“The reason I decided to come forward with everything is I need to help myself out of this situation,” Pride says in the video. “I’m not gonna get out of it. I know I’m gonna do some type of crime. I’m not trying to do the max.”
Pride is accused of shooting 22-year veteran officer Peter Figoski after a drug deal went bad in East New York. His attorney declined to comment about the videotaped statements.
Pride and four others are charged in the robbery-turned-cop-killing. All have pleaded not guilty.
In three separate interviews in the hours after the shooting, Pride tells different versions of events.
First, the recording shows him claiming he was only trying to buy some drugs when other gunmen burst into the basement apartment. But under questioning later, he allegedly admits to bringing the murder weapon into the building to rob the drug den.
“We went over there … but not everything went according to plan,” he says.
Figoski and other officers had arrived at the apartment building to investigate a 911 call.
Wearing a white jumpsuit because police took his clothing away as evidence, the video shows Pride re-enacting the shooting scene in the 75th precinct stationhouse.
He claims that he tripped, got up, and then as he tried to run by Figoski to get away, he says he accidentally pulled the trigger.
“I look up to clutch my hands to run … he is coming and I’m going … so it was like 'Boom.'"
A prosecutor asks,”What do you mean 'Boom?'”
“The gun goes off as I clutch my hands to run … I’m like this running,” says Pride, 27, as he pumps his arms in front of the camera. “As I’m running, I’m clutching my hands. I never took my hand off the trigger. That was my mistake. I was so nervous and I panicked. I didn't even think.”
Police dispute that account, saying the shooting was intentional and from point-blank range.
Figoski, of West Babylon, left behind a wife and four daughters.
City left in shock by veteran cop's death
The killing of the veteran officer shocked the city. The Figoski family received an outpouring of support; more than $2 million has been raised to help pay for their education.
The mayor called the killing a “depraved criminal act.”
In his statements, Pride claims he and the other suspects drove to the East New York building to try to steal cash and drugs.
“'He’s got money, let’s rob him,'” Pride said one associate told him, and he says he replied, "No problem, just tell me what I got to do.'”
In the statement, Pride never appears to offer any remorse for the officer.
A spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes declined to comment, as did an NYPD spokesman.
Pride was questioned hours after the shooting. He talks of his years growing up in foster care homes and how he smoked marijuana with friends.
He gives a detailed account of how he ran from the scene after the shooting and was quickly caught by another officer who gave chase.
“I was running scared,” Pride said, as he told how he tried to hide the weapon by throwing it under a parked car.
“I want to come clean,” he says. “So that way when the time do come I can get some type of leniency.”
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